Saturday, May 23, 2009

ON TO LAS CRUCES!

Today, May 23 (Sat) at 7pm, I'll be speaking at Las Cruces Zen Center at the Unitarian Universalist Church 2000 S. Solano Dr, Las Cruces, NM 88001. So be there or be square!

The radio show yesterday morning was interesting. Too bad none of you called in or it could have been even more so.

Man, I gotta run! See ya!

46 comments:

Really said...

OMG!!!!!!
It's ME!!!!
I AM NUMBER ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like I care.

Really? said...

In fact, I am very proud to have made the number one spot, for the second time.

I'd like to thank my family and friends, my agent, and the good Lord Buddha, who made it all possible.

Really? said...

None of you guys called in!
A chance to nail the Bradster and you pussied out?!

SHAME!
(Me in UK, poor, exempt).

Mumon said...

Was your energy mastered?

Or do you still have to do more dubbing?

Anonymous said...

Waiting for the 'what radio show?'

What a place eh? The blogger doesn't read the comments and the commenters dont read the blog.

Anonymous said...

"What a place eh? The blogger doesn't read the comments and the commenters dont read the blog."

It is weird.. Brad says the comments are not worth reading but he wants those same people to call make things interesting on a stupid radio show done only for..

Mysterion said...

Brad's energy was not only MASTERED, it was synchronized with a clap board!

Really said...

"Waiting for the 'what radio show?'

What a place eh? The blogger doesn't read the comments and the commenters dont read the blog."

LOL! That is bloody funny! Really. Not quite true, of course, but rib-ticklingly amusing.

Really said...

"It is weird.. Brad says the comments are not worth reading but he wants those same people to call ..."

Yep. That's a point.

Jinzang said...

I'm guessing Brad means that he'd rather talk to people who already know something about Zen than New Agers who don't, as he finds their questions more interesting and valuable. Even if they are his critics on this forum.

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Wish I could make it but work ties me down. That is why I hate work.

Thanks for your books.

Sebastian said...

Just met Brad. I like him more than I thought I would. Good man and nice talk.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

I finished the first two courses (mp3s) of "Mastering Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now", with Bill Harris (HoloSynch) first interviewing Genpo, and then Ken Wilber. Oddly, the first course seemed to have little to do with Tolle. It was mostly Genpo talking about Big Mind tm, with Harris occasionally interrupting, "Isn't that like Tolle's 'Now'?". The bit at the end where each gushed about how much they used the others' products made me want to shower. Wilber talked about his integral stuff, check out this chart.

I don't believe they know what they're talking about. They don't seem to speak from experience. Most of what they say sounds true, but nothing they say sounds true. I don't think I'm going to listen to the rest of it. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being best, I give the first two lessons the finger.

Rob

Rich said...

"Waiting for the 'what radio show?'

What a place eh? The blogger doesn't read the comments and the commenters dont read the blog."


That is funny. I didn't realize that when i see something about his schedule again and again and again, I just gloss over it without comprehension. I honestly didn't notice that there was a talk radio show with an 800 number.
Brad, here's my question fro your next radio talk show?

Anonymous said...

""It is weird.. Brad says the comments are not worth reading but he wants those same people to call ..."

Yep. That's a point."

I'm sure most people don't even read the comments. I think that's just generally true of all blogs.

The discussion here seems to be mostly less than constructive... although I've only been reading this blog for several weeks now.

A very strange group of groupies, indeed. I read cuz I like what Brad has to say and how he says it. I've read a lot of translations of Buddhist texts and I'm sure a lot is lost. Brad cuts the bullshit... be yourself not an "buddha expert"

That said, I'll probably start skipping these comments too. There are so many other things worth doing.

Anonymous said...

we interweb nut-jobs cannont exist in the real world.

Jinzang said...

That said, I'll probably start skipping these comments too.

Sniff.

Jinzang said...

we interweb nut-jobs cannont exist in the real world.

I've got a job in the interweb so I never have to see the real world.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Brad.

Just thought I'd let you know, your link to "My latest article on Suicide Girls" is actually still going to your 2nd latest article "Is meditation dangerous?" instead of the latest one. A problem at the Suicide Girls end, probably.

Really? said...

I do not actually like to read Brad's posts. I do like to read the comments though. Especially my own.

Anonymous said...

This comments section has become famous in the Buddhist interblogs for the circus it is. A lot of people read this like watching a car wreck.

Really? Really? said...

What Really? at 1.18pm wrote is surely true - Really (with or without "?") does - sometimes - like reading his own comments, don't you? But he also reads the other comments, AND Brad's posts. And much else.

I suspect you undertake the occasional retrospective survey of your own work, whoever you are. For there is, tediously, more than one "Really". Again. Don't matter, of course; it's the quality of the work, not the anonymous attribution that matters. I sense someone, friend or foe, may be trying to tease me out. Or just playing silly buggers. Trust me: I'm not worth it.

Should I be flattered? I am. For the moniker "Really" enables me to be my intelligent, arrogant, snarky self. I try to be informative and amusing, but in a slightly objectionable way. So I am proud that I've made a very small impression on the interwebs - I make very little impression in RL. BTW, I most often post in other names. Much more frequently than as "Really". See if you can tell who I am!!

Usurper "Really" - do you have an informative, intelligent, amusing self, or is that the best you can do? Only teasing ;-)

Just gonna read that again....

NellaLou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NellaLou said...

"The radio show yesterday morning was interesting. Too bad none of you called in or it could have been even more so. "

--silence---

That is Brad ignoring everyone on the phone as well as in the comments.

Of course if they opened several lines at once we could all just talk amongst ourselves as usual.

Really? said...

It is becoming bothersome that there are two or three others posting as myself. They do not seem to realize that I can spot them every time. I think of this forum as a way to show off my creative side. I am very proud of my writing. I know some of you look forward to my witticisms and are disappointed by the impostors. All I can say is be patient my friends. The false Really will soon grow tired of his little deception and bugger off. Thank you all for being so loyal.

Not Really said...

Hmm...@ Really? @8.07 -

I don't think you're the real Really. Why? 'cause you said what Really? Really? said @ 4.01am, only not so well. I'm pretty sure 4.01am is the real Really?

Unless, of course you are really Really?Really?, pretending to be a bit dull.

Really? said...

I beg your pardon? I never have to pretend to be dull.

Unreal said...

SO:

Brad won't talk to the commenters.

The commenters won't talk to Brad.

We're left with one sad fuck talking to himself.

Really said...

See that ^^^ @ 9.54am ?

I wrote that.

delictoaquinas said...

* I read cuz I like what Brad has to say and how he says it. I've read a lot of translations of Buddhist texts and I'm sure a lot is lost. Brad cuts the bullshit... be yourself not an "buddha expert*

I don’t know how much Warner agrees or disagrees with comments like this one, though there seem to be a lot in the same general vein.

Anyway, of course the original texts have some flaws. I have no problem with people like Brad Warner or Sam Harris pointing this out. When they start acting like they can see through it all and magically know what “true” Buddhism is apart from the only sources we have, i.e. the sutras and the sangha, that’s when it starts getting a little weird.

I suppose a practitioner can be him or herself (whatever that means) but I think a certain level of expertise is desirable if one wishes to study something. Let me use a sports analogy. Suppose you can swing a bat really, really well at center. You don’t know the rules of baseball. You don’t know any of its history. You don’t know how to play field or catch. Hell, you don’t even know what to do when you hit the ball. Or how to swing at a curve, or when not to swing. Then let’s suppose you called yourself a ball player. It wouldn’t be accurate. It’s the same with people who think that Buddhism is just sitting, period, QED. If you want to do that, fine, but treating ignorance of the other aspects of Buddhism as some sort of virtue is silly. Calling it true Buddhism is even sillier.

The funny thing is, I get the impression that a lot of the white Buddhists into this whole reduced-fat meditation outlook probably see themselves as practitioners, as compared to those ignorant Asians who just sit there praying to Buddha. Leaving aside that I’ve met Shin and Pure Land Buddhists whose grasp of Dharma puts to shame the average Zen or Vipassana practitioner, the Buddha talked a lot about a lot of things. I’m sure someone will throw out some nonsense about how the Buddha “never said a word”, but in the Pali canon alone, he goes on quite a bit on quite a number of things, and the various Mahayana sutras and teachings of every school (yes, including Zen) we cover quite a bit more ground. It would have been easy enough to just say that sitting was the ne plus ultra of practice, but he never says that anywhere I’ve read. The closest he comes is in the Anapanasatti Sutta where he urges you to watch your breath. Dogen says certain things about sitting being central to practice, but he also puts some emphasis on Sutras and essentially says that only monastics are going to succeed at Buddhist meditation, things often ignored by the same people who claim him as an inspiration.

It’s a very typically American attitude that expertise is treated as a dirty word. We ignore scientists on global warming because we just know better than those eggheads. We ignore social data that points to solutions for problems because it doesn’t match up with grandmas and grandpas’ values, and those latte-sippin’ elitists are out of touch with the common man anyway. Thank god for all the "Buddha experts" who made it possible for honkies like Warner and me to have access to Millennia of Buddhist thought. Warner’s teachings have many good points, and have inspired a lot of practitioners including myself, but essentially wanting to reduce all Buddhism down to a sitting posture, a Sutra, and one interpretation of a medieval Japanese text is throwing out several babies with an inch of bathwater.

Mysterion said...

That would be correct. Brad's comments section prepares 'Buddhists that give a shit'® an opportunity to peek at what anxious wanna-bes and sacrosanct know it alls are like off leash.

It's not quite like a train wreck, it's more like a three ring dog-and-pony show with ferrell dogs and mustang ponies. It's all in the shade with an absence of acculturation.

Stupid way said...

Hi, delictoaquinas,

I think you're misrepresenting a great deal here. Before I saw you're latest comment, I replied thus to pkb on the previous post. Forgive me for republishing it:

"Well, I agree too, pkb. There is more to Buddhism than just sitting. Brad would agree to. So would his teacher, Gudo (= "Stupid way") Nishijima. From what I know of Gudo's teaching, from another of his students, you can be reassured that there is much importance given to Buddhist philosophy and writng in Brad's lineage. But there's SO much of it, of course, that it's necessary to be selective.

If I had to chose between meditation and some erudition OR erudition and some meditation, there's no doubt in my mind that the former is likely to be more beneficial. Remember, delictoaquinas said "And while sitting has its place, I think it can also be gravely overvalued". I'm not sure that Gotama would agree.

I'm not talking either/or here. And I don't think you are. Re Brad: my point is that his inability to recall (eg) the 8-fold path in the right order, or his misrepresentation of the historical place of 'non-attachment' in the buddhist tradition, while making a valid point about it, doesn't invalidate his teaching, or his practice."

You say:
"I don’t know how much Warner agrees or disagrees with comments like this one"
-No, you don't. But it doesn't stop you writing this:

"I have no problem with people like Brad Warner or Sam Harris pointing this out. When they start acting like they can see through it all and magically know what “true” Buddhism is apart from the only sources we have...that’s when it starts getting a little weird."
-Please direct me to anything that Brad has written which indicates that's his attitude to Buddhism or its literature.

Ypou continue:
"It’s the same with people who think that Buddhism is just sitting, period, QED. If you want to do that, fine, but treating ignorance of the other aspects of Buddhism as some sort of virtue is silly. Calling it true Buddhism is even sillier."
-Much projection, I feel. Who said this? Where?

"I’m sure someone will throw out some nonsense about how the Buddha “never said a word"
- Don't be so sure.

"It’s a very typically American attitude that expertise is treated as a dirty word. "
-Why do you assume that everyone who reads/comments on this blog is from the USA? I'm not.

I'd be interested to know what your better, more authentic, truer form of of Buddhism is. For you clearly believe there is one. But that would rather destroy you premise, wouldn't it. We all find the form of this most flexible of teachings that best suits us; upaya, I believe that's called. If Brad/Nishijima's form of Dogen-based zen isn't your cuppa tea, then it's truly your right to take up the practice (and theory) that is. I would only ask that you try not to misrepresent or criticise it on the basis that it isn't proper/true Bhuddism. Cos like it or not, that's exactly what you appear to have done.

Stupid way said...

PS -

Re the "true" Buddhism thing, I'll help you out: Gudo Nishijima DOES refer to his Buddhism, which he derives from a lifetime's study of Dogen and much more (check his and Mike Cross's translation of Shobogenzo - no lack of expertise or erudition there; the footnotes alone atest), as "true Buddhism". But Gudo is Japanese, old, and a pioneer. I can forgive him a surfeit of self-belief and a little arrogance. But to my knowledge, Brad only ever uses the phrase when, with a slightly embarrassed irony, he references his teacher's views. Again, it misrepresents what Brad has said and written to portray him as some kind of fundamentalist. In common with many other teachers he says: this is what I learnt; this is the way I do it; this is what I teach. That is not at all the same as saying "this is the only way".

The three-in-one said...

Hi Mysterion,

"...'Buddhists that give a shit'®...anxious wanna-bes... sacrosanct know it alls..."

It's the obvious question, but it must be asked: which of the above do you see yourself as? I know what I think, but I'd like to hear it from you.

delictoaquinas said...

*I’m sure someone will throw out some nonsense about how the Buddha “never said a word"
- Don't be so sure.*

I’ve seen it here before several times when someone bothers to point out that one of Warner’s teachings seems a bit out of whack with generally accepted Buddhist teachings. It’s the ultimate nonsequitur conversation ender, and is very popular with e-z zen types, especially online. What I say has no basis? Well, um, the Buddha never said anything! I’m off the hook!

*"It’s a very typically American attitude that expertise is treated as a dirty word. "

Why do you assume that everyone who reads/comments on this blog is from the USA? I'm not.*

Most of them are. Since I wasn’t responding to you, though…

*I'd be interested to know what your better, more authentic, truer form of of Buddhism is.*

Anything somewhat foundational that doesn’t throw out basic Buddhist teachings. I like the Risme approach quite a bit. I’m so incredibly open minded that I don’t even consider sitting meditation to be necessary to Buddhism. Some people aren’t at the level where it will do them any good. The best dharma teachers recognize this instead of prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach.

*For you clearly believe there is one.*

It’s more accurate to say I believe there are many.

* But that would rather destroy you premise, wouldn't it.*

Nah.

*We all find the form of this most flexible of teachings that best suits us*

It’s nor flexible. Various, yes; but not flexible. Warner is quite right on that score at least.

* upaya, I believe that's called.*

Warner said upaya is worthless if I recall.

*If Brad/Nishijima's form of Dogen-based zen isn't your cuppa tea, then it's truly your right to take up the practice (and theory) that is.*

Thanks, that’s mighty white of ya.

*I would only ask that you try not to misrepresent or criticise it on the basis that it isn't proper/true Bhuddism.*

I can’t do what Nishijima and Warner have done many, many times?

* Cos like it or not, that's exactly what you appear to have done.*

No, I was mostly noting that Warner seems to attract people who consider ignorance of any teaching beyond “sit down and shut up” to be a marker of true Buddhism.

*I'll help you out: Gudo Nishijima DOES refer to his Buddhism, which he derives from a lifetime's study of Dogen and much more (check his and Mike Cross's translation of Shobogenzo - no lack of expertise or erudition there; the footnotes alone atest)*

It is an interesting translation. It’s not scholarly in the classical academic sense, but it does deserve respect despite some very questionable readings of Dogen presented as fact.

*as "true Buddhism". But Gudo is Japanese, old, and a pioneer. I can forgive him a surfeit of self-belief and a little arrogance. But to my knowledge, Brad only ever uses the phrase when, with a slightly embarrassed irony, he references his teacher's views.*

Umm, no. He has specifically denigrated other traditions many times. And stated that his form of Buddhism is the closest to what the Buddha taught, which is why I brought up similar claims by Sam Harris.

*In common with many other teachers he says: this is what I learnt; this is the way I do it; this is what I teach. That is not at all the same as saying "this is the only way".*

He does seem to have tempered this a bit recently, which I find encouraging. But he’s been very vocal about other forms of Buddhism in the past and quite clear that he views Soto Zen as being the closest thing to what the historical Buddha taught.

You should probably avoid accusing others of projection, by the way; it’s the ultimate in armchair psychology and if you misapply it (as you did) it makes it clear you don’t really know what you’re talking about. The same way your earlier comparison between Vajrayana and Zen indicated that you don’t really know much about either.

Stupid way said...

Well this could clearly go on in a similar tit-for-tat fashion for some time. We're now accusing the other of things each of us insists we didn't say or mean, and I sense you're getting annoyed, splitting as many fine hairs as you can find as you go. So time for bed.

Just one last thing. For the historical record - it wasn't me that mentioned vajrayana, or compared it to zen. Not at all.

Can we be friends now?

pkb said...

Delictoaquinas and Stupid Way. I've enjoyed your discussion. There's no need for ill feelings when disagreeing with someone.

I have to agree with Delicto about Brad's sectarian one-up-manship though. I've been reading Brad's books and articles since before he was famous and I see a definite tendency in that direction, especially the last few years. He's declared very clearly that he believes his way is best...while at the same time proclaiming he knows very little about other Buddhist sects. And apparently sees no irony in this.

I found this from Chan master Shen Yen pertaining to sutras and written teachings:


"This being the case, Chan is not something utterly distinct from the sutras, much less antagonistic to them. For it embodies the very insights that the sutras seek to express, allowing for a profound complementarity between the two: What is stated in words in the Buddhist scriptures will be confirmed in fact in the course of Chan practice, while what is experienced in Chan practice will resonate immediately with what is written in the sutras.


Today one hears many American students say that, as practitioners of Zen or Chan, they don't need to learn or think about the Buddhist sutras and their teachings. Just sitting in zazen is the real practice; reading and studying written words is for soulless pedants and academics. In China, Korea, and Japan, where knowledge of the Buddhist teachings was widespread, such a rejection of the written word makes poignant sense. But this is a very dangerous attitude in a culture that has no native traditions of Buddhist learning to speak of. For silence, in and of itself, is anything but innocent or neutral, much less free of ignorance. How the more problematic it becomes when it is blissful!

If you started to look into this Chan or Zen literature you would soon discover that it is more extensive than any other school of East Asian Buddhism, even the doctrinal ones! Indeed, to be a good priest or Zen master in Japan, one must be trained in this literature through and through. You would also find that the ancient Chan masters and patriarchs were themselves highly literate individuals, whose teachings were deeply imbued with the language of the Buddhist sutras."
---Chan Master Shen Yen

Stupid way said...

Hi pkb - Just finished my pre-bed sitting...should I have read something on 'access to insight' instead? I do both and more. Like you, I am alive.

"[Brad's] declared very clearly that he believes his way is best...while at the same time proclaiming he knows very little about other Buddhist sects. And apparently sees no irony in this."

At the risk of repeating myself...Isn't this true of every school and teacher? A few teachers have been trained in more than one school; not many. Most teachers know much more about there own school than others - Buddhism is vast. And it follows that most - perhaps all - teachers believe in their school/practice. If they don't, I want my money back. Brad's honest about his limitations, and what does it get him? 'Proper' Buddhists sneering.

So, I suggest it comes down to whether a teacher treats other schools with disrespect. Brad makes no secret of his contempt for Genpo. Apart from that, I can't think of a Buddhist school that Brad has seriously dissed. Critisised maybe, but not treated with contempt. And I too have read the books and the blogs, for a few years. If he has done so, I don't have to agree with him. I have my own teacher. I only rush to Brad's defence when I see what he's said being, IMO, misrepresented. And, right or wrong, I think it often is.

What shen yen says could be - with alittle paraphrase - straight from Dogen, or Nishijima. There really isn't the yawning chasm that some would have us believe.

Stupid way said...

And finally - PROJECTION:

"In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism where a person's personal attributes, unacceptable or unwanted thoughts, and/or emotions are ascribed onto another person or people. According to Wade, Tavris (2000) projection occurs when a person's own unacceptable or threatening feelings are repressed and then attributed to someone else."

Sorry, delictoaquinas, but that's exactly what I hear in your defensive accusations. Just my opinion. I wouldn't have bothered to check it on wiki, but you kinda asked for it:

"You should probably avoid accusing others of projection, by the way; it’s the ultimate in armchair psychology and if you misapply it (as you did) it makes it clear you don’t really know what you’re talking about."

pkb said...

"Just finished my pre-bed sitting...should I have read something on 'access to insight' instead?"Of course not. As you say, no reason you can't do both. I don't advocate reading as a substitute for zazen at all.

"[Brad's] declared very clearly that he believes his way is best...while at the same time proclaiming he knows very little about other Buddhist sects. And apparently sees no irony in this."

At the risk of repeating myself...Isn't this true of every school and teacher? A few teachers have been trained in more than one school; not many. Most teachers know much more about there own school than others - Buddhism is vast. And it follows that most - perhaps all - teachers believe in their school/practice. If they don't, I want my money back."
No. I don't think it is true of every school or teacher, though several people here keep claiming that. It seems to be very prevalent in the Japanese Buddhist sects though. In this, Brad's teaching has more in common with the dogmatic sectarian triumphalism of SGI and the Nicherin sects than with Chan. You can believe in your own approach or teacher without believing the same approach is 'best' for every single person or that it is the only "real" or true way.

You can choose a teacher based upon personal affinity...the ability to communicate easily with him / her and because their teaching resonates with you. It emphatically is not true, as Brad has suggested, that such choosing of what works best for you is necessarily based upon what is easiest. Zen students often leave one teacher and sometimes one sect to study under another, not because they stop believing or admiring that teacher or sect, but simply to expand their understanding so that it isn't one-sided. My old teacher used to insist that after a student completed training with him they should study and train with other roshi for several years before taking on students themselves.

I too am most familiar with Zen, it is all I've actually practiced. But I've studied the other major Buddhist sects and teachings as well as those of other religions enough to know that there is more than one way to skin a cat and that simply because the zen way works for me it does not follow it is best for everyone.

Upaya is the very opposite of one size fits all. I don't think all roads lead to the same place, but I do think many roads lead to similar places. My own zen practice was greatly helped by the writings of Ajahn Chah, J. Krishnamurti, Chogyam Trungpa, Ramana Maharshi and countless others.

delictoaquinas said...

If Warner doesn't feel that his whole philosophy can be distilled down to the kind of comments I was talking about (which were not stupid way's)it makes one wonder why so many people seem to arrive at that conclusion from his books. Now, some teachers have followers who don't really get what they're saying; Chinese Pure Land teachers often speak of a profound and Sublime approach to dharma only to have friend and foe alike come away with the impression that they're saying 'Hey, just pray to Buddha and you'll go to heaven'. I don't consider myself antagnositic towards Warner, for the record; I've even defended him a couple times in the comments (openID puts me down as delictoaquinas or Tavvi seemingly at random though both are based on the same profile).

I don't feel that there is ONE right way to do Buddhism, but I don't feel every approach works either. More to the point, I feel that different people are at different stages of development and have different karma. For some people, zen fits like a glove; I studied and practiced Zen for years before I gravitated to Tibetan Buddhism. I still respect Zen, including the afforementioned Sheng Yen, Xu Yun, and even (yep) Brad Warner. I don't give anyone an automatic pass though, and Warner says some whack shit sometimes. And Japanese Buddhism, as PKB said, is notoriously sectarian. In China, you can practice Pure Land and Chan, or Tibetan and Theravada, and nobody is even going to care or think it's weird; dharma is dharma. In Thailand, you have Theravada monks sharing a temple with Chinese Mahayana monks, where a statue of Sakyamuni sits in front of a thousand-armed Avolekitesvara. In Japan, you try to practice Shin and Shingon, or Rinzai Zen with Tendai, and oh shit...Nichiren Buddhism went so far as to say that nothing but the Lotus Sutra mattered at all and everything else from Buddhist history was a waste of time. Sound a teensy bit familiar?

I think a well founded teacher can say yes, this is what I teach, that guy over there teaches a little differently, we still are both teaching the dharma. Part of the Risme philosophy I alluded to earlier was that one need not blend two teachings or be sectarian, there was another alternative. However, if one is going to say that one has THE VERY BEST formula for teaching Buddhism, one should have a pretty exhaustive knowledge of Buddhism. This just seems obvious to me.

I don't have any particular problem with stupid way either, but I do resent people who don't know me making rather bizarre psychological evaluations. what on earth am I supposed to be projecting exactly?

As for the meditation stuff, part of the OSFA problem is that meditation is, by definition, a mind-altering activity. I personally think most people shouldn't even bother meditating if there life isn't somewhat together and they can't get somewhat stable. The best advice for such a person isn't "go sit zazen without a teacher around", it's usually more like "go practice sila and compassion and responsability and when you can handle a look at the mess that is your mind, come sit with us." Thus I think that seated dhyana, while being an important part of Buddhism, cannot take the place of the vast teachings that make up Buddhism. For every word the Buddha spent talking about sitting, he probably used another hundred talking about other stuff.

pkb said...

Amen to all that, delictoaquinas.

Stupid way said...

delictoaquinas and pkb -

We disagree. And have gone some way to clarifying what we disagree about.
Very Cool.
Peace, my dharma-bros.

Stupid way said...

Last word (from me) with Dogen:

"Proud of our understanding and richly endowed with realization, we obtain special states of insight; we attain the truth; we clarify the mind; we acquire the zeal that pierces the sky; we ramble through remote intellectual spheres, going in with the head: and yet, we have almost completely lost the vigorous road of getting the body out."

- Dogen, Fukan-zazengi, trans. Nishijima/Cross.

pkb said...

Nishijima roshi recently wrote this on his blog:

"But I never say that there is no reason for us to study sutras, scriptures or even the teachings of Master Dogen at all.
I think clearly that without reading what Master Dogen wrote, I can never understand Gautama Buddha's teachings at all.In my case the Buddhist Sutras are too much many, and so I have concentrated my efforts to read Master Dogen's works solely. And I think that if we read Master Dogen's works all sufficiently, it is sufficient for us to study the fundamental true Buddhist theory totally."
I think we find the origin of Brad's limited knowledge of wider Buddhism right here. Nishijima roshi seems to believe the entirety of the Buddhist teaching can be found soley in the writings of master Dogen. He says there are just too darn many sutras to read.

This is similar to the view amongst Lotus Sutra devotees (nicherin sects) that they need only study the Lotus sutra to understand the entirety of Buddhism. All other approaches and writings being inferior or heretical.

I simply disagree that "without reading what Master Dogen wrote, I can never understand Gautama Buddha's teachings at all." While I like much of master Dogen's writings, I don't regard him as the apex of zen or buddhism any more than I do Hakuin. I think I get a better grasp of the teachings by reading the records of the various patriarchs and the major sutras than if I concentrated on just reading one particular teacher.

pkb said...

"When students are beginners, whether they have the mind of the Way or not, they should carefully read and study the Sagely Teachings of the sutras and shastras."

Dogen, Record of Things Heard, Col. Trans. Vol. 4, p.796





"A bigoted believer in nihilism blasphemes against the sutras on the ground that literature [i.e., the Buddhist scriptures] is unnecessary [for the study of Buddhism]. If that were so, then neither would it be right for us to speak, since speech forms the substance of literature. He would also argue that in the direct method [literally, the straight path] literature is discarded. But does he appreciate that the two words ‘is discarded’ are also literature? Upon hearing others recite the sutras such a man would criticize the speakers as ‘addicted to scriptural authority’. It is bad enough for him to confine this mistaken notion to himself, but in addition, he blasphemes against the Buddhist scriptures. You men should know that it is a serious offence to speak ill of the sutras, for the consequence is grave indeed!"
Hui-Neng, The Diamond Sutra & The Sutra of Hui-Neng, A. F. Price & Wong Mou-lam


"I have observed that people of the present time who are cultivating their minds do not depend on the guidance of the written teachings, but straightaway assume that the successive transmission of the esoteric idea [of Son] is the path. They then sit around dozing with their presence of mind in agitation and confusion during their practice of meditation. For these reasons, I feel you should follow words and teachings which were expounded in accordance with reality in order to determine the proper procedure in regard to awakening and cultivation. Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts."
Chinul, Tracing Back the Radiance, p.151-152